Social Progress Index: San Jose

We have officially launched the Social Progress Index for San Jose, California. Developed in close partnership with the City of San Jose Mayor’s Office of Strategic Initiatives and Budget, Skoll Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Wipfli and Microsoft, the Social Progress Index for San Jose is the first US city-level index to be developed and implemented since we first launched our US initiative in 2018.

“It is only natural that the capital of Silicon Valley would be the first city in the country to use data to put an impartial measurement on needs to implement policy more equitably, as it offers a lens into where community needs are. The Social Progress Index will be a catalyst for community conversations on how we can better deliver resources to improve, support and build our neighborhoods to the benefit of all San Joséans.”

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

A unique visualization tool is hosted at www.spisanjose.org and can also be viewed by clicking the image below.

Click image to open the interactive tool (opens new tab)

The index aggregates 42 indicators from local, state, county, and federal datasets to provide a unique glimpse into the country’s 10th largest city – the epicenter of Silicon Valley. The Index aims to support San Jose’s Smart City Vision to be more data-driven and evidence-based in reacting to its significant challenges from limited housing and skyrocketing real estate prices, to ongoing efforts to improve public safety and relations between the community and local police force. In his June budget message to city council, mayor Sam Liccardo delivered a call to city officials, stating:

“I propose that City staff uses the information and tools provided by the SPI Index, GARE, and from other ongoing work to develop an ‘equity screen’—that is, criteria that will enable a prioritization of neighborhoods by need—to enable appropriate allocation of services to high-need communities.”

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

In developing the Social Progress Index for San Jose, we collected a variety of open, public data primarily at the census tract level. Census tracts are small areas defined by the U.S. Census Bureau and are carefully constructed to allow for accurate representation of statistical information, with an average population of 4,000 people in each tract. We also provide the data in an aggregated form at the level of Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) which may be more recognizable.  However, it is important to note that ZCTA’s are not designed to present statistical information formally, so care must be exercised when interpreting data aggregated at this level. For more information on methodology and to download the full dataset, click here.

Social Progress Index San Jose Framework

Tracking Select Indicators Over Time

Click image to open the interactive tool (opens new tab)

Where available, we’ve also included a retrospective view of key indicators, which allow users to track relevant changes over time.

Zooming In

Less than half a mile apart, two census tracts in Willow Glen – 6085502500 and 6085503123 – are ranked 1st and 167th respectively. Despite its strong performance, the top-ranking tract came in at 44th on Personal Safety, 46th on Nutrition and Basic Medical Care, 69th on Health and Wellness, and 85th on Housing and Homelessness.

Top and bottom performing census tracts in Willow Glen
Top and bottom performing census tracts in Willow Glen

Meanwhile, despite ranking 167/213 overall, tract 6085503123 has some success to celebrate, including its positions on Environmental Quality (36th), Inclusiveness (42nd) and Access to Basic Knowledge (59th). This community’s low overall performance is driven in large part by poor scores on Personal Freedom and Choice (207th), Access to Information and Communications (207th), Nutrition and Basic Medical Care (200th), Health and Wellness (199th) and Housing/Homelessness (193rd).

We are grateful for the support from organizations such as City of San Jose Mayor’s Office of Strategic Initiatives and Budget, Skoll Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Wipfli and Microsoft. We will we continue to explore more findings such as these with our city partners. Click here to learn more about this tool and delve into the data and methodology.

“Microsoft is committed to empowering communities and nonprofits to realize the promise and potential of technology. We are excited to partner with the Social Progress Imperative and the City of San Jose to put this tool into the hands of decision makers and the public to help the city utilize data to more effectively respond to the community’s needs.”

Sid Espinosa, Microsoft Director of Technology and Civic Engagement

Recent articles related to this index:

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